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Spreading positivity

Yair Koren and a group of Israelis raising money in Brussels for the children of Gaza
Yair Koren and a group of Israelis raising money in Brussels for the children of Gaza
Photo by Shai Iluk

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior,” said Mahatma Gandhi. Supposing this statement is true, its opposite must also be true: your negative thoughts, put into words, will reflect negative behaviors. The question need not be asked: would you not rather act positively as opposed to negatively?

Let’s take Las Vegas as an example. An outsider looking in on the Strip through the mediums of newspapers and television sees a City of Sin, bright lights, loud music, gun fights, and much drunkenness. This outsider would be inclined to judge Las Vegans as crazies and would prefer to either vacation elsewhere or come to Vegas intentionally to “let loose.” This, in turn, continues to give a bad name to Las Vegas when in fact it is quite a peaceful place from which one can see the stars on a nightly basis. Once one is able to look beyond the media’s portrayal of the city and see the buildings, the mountains, the art, the architecture, and the people who live their lives just like in any other city, then would one be able to say, “Las Vegas might be portrayed as Sin City, but it actually has a lot more to offer than just drinking and gambling.” As soon as this realization hits, one can visit the city, drink and gamble moderately, and still enjoy the deeper side of Las Vegas. Positivity abounds.

The world is full of events that may be described by most as negative: the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, Malaysia Airlines, Israel versus Palestine, ISIS, and countless other situations. Many people cannot help but take sides according to things they have heard, read, or seen on the news. Taking sides while not directly affected by the conflicts accomplishes one huge negative aspect and zero positives: it provokes a slight feeling of rage or bewilderment in a person (i.e., negative thoughts) and leads the person to spread those feelings to the surroundings. In some instances, this can escalate. Escalation of negativity is not the goal of this article.

The goal of this article is rather to promote an escalation of positivity. One way this can be achieved is by preventing those who are uneducated and unaffected by a given event from taking sides. Instead, those people’s energy should be focused on the innocent people who are affected by the situation. These people lead normal lives. They get together with friends, talk about the weather, tell jokes, and go to school and work. For them, life goes on, only from time to time they are reminded of the situation around them. Taking sides against them would only break their spirits, while siding with them would reinforce their negativity toward the other side. This, in turn, would push them toward justifying more negative behaviors. Positivity, on the other hand, will make them see that others support them and give them hope. This would strengthen the positive behaviors they are capable of.

See for example a group of Israelis raising money for the children of Gaza (refer to cover photo). And here is a YouTube link of Israelis and Palestinians in Washington, DC, speaking about working together hand-in-hand for peace. These images should not instill anger in their viewers but rather promote hope for a better future. As Gandhi argued, positive thoughts turn into positive behaviors.